Published on February 10, 2020 by Morgan Black  
Trial Competition Feb2020
Regional competitors engage with volunteer jurors during final rounds.

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law hosted Region 8 of the National Trial Competition (NTC) Feb. 7-9, 2020 at the Jefferson County Civil Courthouse. The competition is one of the most prestigious mock trial competitions in the nation, created to encourage law student interest in developing trial advocacy skills. 

The regional competition welcomed 22 teams from law schools across the country, 200 judges, more than 40 witnesses, and 75 Cumberland student volunteers. Over the course of the weekend, there were a total of 50 mock trials, with each trial having at least three scoring judges. As the host school, Cumberland’s trial program recruited, trained and coordinated all judges and volunteers. 

The competition ran seamlessly and provided an excellent experiential learning opportunity for student participants. “Every student that participated in this competition entered as students and came out as advocates,” said Allison Connelly, professor and coach at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. “The event was run flawlessly, and the students were well taken care of.” 

This year, more than 300 mock trial teams will compete at regional competitions during the month of February and the top two teams from each of 15 regions will advance to the national competition in Texas. Because Cumberland served as the host of Region 8, the school’s trial teams will participate in another regional competition later in February. 

Ramona Albin, assistant professor of law and director of advocacy programs at Cumberland, served as the tournament director; Tracy Luke, advocacy program coordinator, was the director of logistics; and Lynda Reynolds served as assistant director of logistics. 

“Cumberland excels at training and supporting student advocates,” Albin said. “Hosting a large, prestigious tournament further shows our commitment to training practice-ready advocates. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting students from our region and providing an environment where students can learn and grow as litigators.” 

The Region 8 competition was co-sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) and the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). Glenda Cochran Associates sponsored a dinner  Saturday evening for all the participants. 

Cumberland’s trial program is consistently ranked among the top trial advocacy programs in the country. U.S. News & World Report ranked the program #15 in the nation in 2020.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.